Reception on board Charles de Gaulle: Tuesday 29th December 2016
We were privileged to be invited on board the French flagship Charles de Gaulle visiting Bahrain as part of operations in the region and the largest Western European warship currently. It was good to meet up with Shaikh Abdulla, who had organized the recent interfaith group to the United Nations. Judging from the banter from the Royal Navy, I think the competition between navies is not dissimilar to competitions between schools here in Bahrain; it’s a relatively small community and everyone knows everyone else, at least at senior officer level, but the French certainly lived up to expectations for their food (and drink) and
we were given a couple of baguettes, freshly baked on board, as we left. Both the French Admiral and the French Ambassador spoke and affirmed the importance of Bahrain and their allies and expressed gratitude for the support given to France following the two terrorist attacks in Paris.
New Year’s Eve Watchnight Service and Holy Communion
It was good to hear that the Watchnight Service and Communion, which had to be in Awali this year because of a double booking, was such a success and that eighty people – mostly from our Tamil and Kenyan communities found their way to the church. It would have been much quieter and certainly much freer car parking space. The New Year’s day service on Friday morning was a considerably thinner, but I have to say that was not a surprise. Some were still away on holiday; for others it was the morning after the night before.
Launching 200 years of friendship between Bahrain and the UK: Monday 4th January 2016
A reception on board HMS Defender, an extremely high tech warship was the setting for the launch of a year of celebrations marking 200 years of friendship between two kingdoms. The Crown Prince was the Guest of Honour and there were a mix of both British, Bahraini and International guests in the relatively small space of the Defender’s hanger. We were given
brief tour of the ship and two demonstrations: the first by Royal Marines dealing with the threat of boarding pirates; the second in the Ops Room of a simulated missile attack by a hostile plane. Our daughter, Hannah, stood in as Captain for three minutes for this exercise and gave the order for the missile to be intercepted and shot down. The evening ended with a parade and the lowering of the flag at sunset.